The 5D Method for Avoiding Corrective Action

You've just suffered through the indignity of being on the wrong end of a root cause analysis... and now somebody has the nerve to come back and tell you how to do your own job?! Unfortunately, you can't just say "NO" and tell them to pack sand, but you still have some tools at your disposal. Maybe a little 5D dance can make it all go away?

  1. Deny: Question the basis for any corrective actions they want to assign to you; deny the existence of the cause or condition that supposedly necessitates the action.
  2. Downplay: Identify the reasons (in painstaking detail) why the cause or condition is acceptable, unavoidable, or not at as bad as claimed. Show how the proposed corrective actions need to be scaled back because they're overblown, expensive, and entirely unrealistic.
  3. Discredit: Discredit the root/apparent cause analysis, insult the intelligence, experience, & knowledge of the investigator or analyst, and otherwise demolish the credibility of the corrective action plan.
  4. Deflect: Deflect responsibility/accountability to a supplier or contractor, another department or program, another facility, etc.
  5. Delay: Firmly establish and justify the need for a long lead-time to complete the corrective action. Try to get a due date so far into the future that the situation and/or the people will have changed significantly, so much so that the corrective action will appear to be unnecessary or antiquated.

Good Luck!

This is meant to be humorous, but it's not really a joke. Some people & organizations will try these things in order to protect the status quo. What will you do as a root cause analyst or problem investigator to make sure that these tactics can't be successful when used against you?



by Bill Wilson
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Last updated: November 18, 2014 at 12:35 pm

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